Matt Rao has been confirmed as Hillspeed’s first signing for the 2013 Protyre Formula Renault Championship, the 18 year old embarking on his first full season in the category.

After two seasons in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, Rao made his Formula Renault debut with Hillspeed during the final rounds of the 2012 season, before remaining with the team for the season-ending Winter Series.

“Ideally, I want to be finishing in the top five most weekends and trying to mount a challenge for a few podiums, but we’ll have to see where we are when the season starts,” said Rao.

“The winter has gone really well, we did the Winter Series and we’ve done a lot of running in testing, including over 1,000 miles at Guadix, so we’ve been preparing well.”

Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw added: “It’s great to officially confirm Matt for Protyre Formula Renault this year, he’s had a very positive winter during testing and we’re confident he’s going to make big strides.”